Fiio crams dual hi-fi DACs in a mechanical keyboard
There's a good chance that the headphone jack of your laptop or PC doesn't offer stellar plugged-in audio quality. Chinese hi-fi brand Fiio is aiming to offer a significant quality boost with a mechanical keyboard rocking its own DAC/headphone amp.
To the left of the Esc key are two headphone outputs – a 3.5-mm single-ended unbalanced jack for regular wired earphones or headphones and a 4.4-mm balanced jack that's ready to receive your high-end cans.
An audio signal passes through the KB3 keyboard from a computing source such as a laptop or desktop PC over USB and is routed via two Cirrus Logic CS43131 digital-to-analog converters as well as a pair of low-noise SGM8262 op-amps capable of providing 550 mW of output power.
Users can look forward to top-notch listening potential thanks to support for PCM formats up to 32-bit/384-kHz plus native DSD256 – much better quality than cabling straight to the audio jack of a host device. To the right of the aluminum/magnesium-alloy housing is a stepless volume knob.
As for the keyboard itself, users are treated to gasket-mounted Gateron G Pro 3.0 yellow switches that Fiio reckons will be good for both productivity and gaming, there are 81 transparent keycaps in a compact layout, RGB lighting with preset effects, support for Windows and Mac operating systems, and a 4,000-mAh battery.
Fiio is selling the KB3 through its AliExpress store for US$149.99, though there are also barebones (without switches and keycaps) and wireless (minus the hi-fi circuit) available versions for less.
Product page: Fiio KB3